Sunday, October 23rd, marked the second annual Still Not Asking For It (SNAFI) Event, and despite the cold gusts of wind and chilly weather, the turnout was phenomenal. The brainchild of tattoo artist Ashley Love, the event is an annual fundraiser for The Joyful Heart Foundation, and raises money for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Spanning a whopping 10 hours, hundreds of tattoos, and drawing a turnout that rivaled that of last year's inaugural affair, this year’s event was an absolute success raising an astounding $13,500.
Even at 11:00 am, an hour before doors opened, Allied Tattoo and its surrounding block was buzzing with excited patrons eagerly awaiting their chance to be tattooed by one of Brooklyn’s finest. With coffees in hand, hundreds of people could be heard chattering about whether they wanted their new flash flower on their upper arm, or if they wanted to save that space for a larger piece. One thing that could be agreed upon? The importance of the event.
Rachel Leigh, a social worker by trade, was one of the many eager volunteers for the event. “I think it’s really important to raise awareness about sexual assault, and I think that the media and people in general kind of downplay it, which causes people not to disclose or press charges, and get the help that they need. As a social worker, I think it’s really important for people to be able to do that," Leigh says. "It’s very empowering, and it’s also important [to get] supportive services, because trauma is very real and if affects people in a variety of ways. It can really be helpful if we make it more public and more accepted to talk about these kinds of things.”
Eager customer, Brittany Anynaundorff, a resident of Brooklyn and first timer at SNAFI, agreed saying, “I think it’s something that a lot of people can relate to, and have experience with, and want to eradicate.”
Karoline Katus, a representative from the Joyful Heart Foundation, Mariska Hargitay’s (you know, of Law and Order: SVU fame) charity that provides counseling and services for victims of sexual abuse and assault, as well as the sole beneficiary of Still Not Asking For It, was on hand. Over the hum of the tattoo machines, Katus relayed how Allied Tattoo and the Joyful Heart Foundation collaborated to create the event.
“Allied Tattoo actually contacted us," Katus explained. "They were doing some research about domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, and they came upon our website, and they saw our programming and services. Ashley actually had the idea... and she recruited all of the tattoo artists that are here donating their time, so every single dollar that someone pays for their tattoo goes back to the foundation. I’m just blown away and so inspired by all of the artists. It just shows that anybody can really make a difference, and anybody can raise awareness.”
"It just shows that anybody can really make a difference, and anybody can raise awareness."
While the lines and wait times were to be expected for a flash event, Allied and its neighbors ensured a pleasant experience for all by opting to take down the names and phone numbers of people wanting to get tattooed, and calling them in when it was their turn. Black Rabbit Barber Shop, a neighbor of Allied, was also participating in the fundraiser. They offered $25 haircuts, $15 beard trims, and a free Sixpoint beer for those who participated, donating all proceeds to the Joyful Heart Foundation. Allied was even paid an unexpected visit by none other than Law & Order SVU actor Peter Scanavino.
Co-owner of Allied Tattoo, Andy Perez, said that he and his partner Benny Haft knew from the get-go that if they were to ever do flash events, they knew they wanted it to be for a good cause, rather than to just make money for the shop. “Unfortunately, a lot of people have had this stuff happen to them," Perez said. "Hopefully this is something that can help them get past it.”
The more awareness that's raised through events such as Allied's, the better. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, "one in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. Only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities." With so many people affected by sexual violence, Still Not Asking For It is an eye-opening and hip way to address such a prevalent problem.
If you were unable to make it to the event, you can still donate to The Joyful Heart Foundation through their website. And if you want to see more of what Ashley Love has going on you can follow her on Instagram. Even if you missed your chance to make it to this inspiring event, you should still check out Allied Tattoo here.